Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 1, 2013

Full moon madness backed by little evidence

TAHLEQUAH — That may not be worth a headline today, but throughout human history, cultures have attached importance to the moon and its phases. It has been worshipped as a god or goddess, inspired paintings, songs and prose, and today it is sometimes even blamed for human behavior.

Emergency room personnel may anticipate more patients or unusual ailments during the full moon. Law enforcement may expect people to be more aggressive during arrests.

However, Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault doesn’t subscribe to the idea that the moon affects people.

“I’ve heard that my whole life, but I really don’t see the difference,” he said. “A few people are going to do stupid things no matter the phase of the moon. We may make special preparations for holiday weekends and Halloween, but not the moon phase.”

The English language includes words like “lunatic” and “lunacy” which suggest a connection between the moon and unbalanced behavior.

But it seems science cannot support such contentions. There have been studies which suggest a correlation between human behavior and the full moon, but attempts to duplicate them have failed.

A 1998 study appearing in the “Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry” found no correlation, contradicting the findings of a 1986 study published in “Psychological Reports.”

One possible explanation for more emergency calls and mischief during a full moon might be its illumination. Humans, being diurnal, may be more active during a brightly lit night. Full moons also shine throughout the night, rising at dusk and setting at dawn.

While some sinister references to the moon exist in literature and folklore, Dr. David Linebarger, professor of humanities at Northeastern State University, said positive portrayals of the moon, including while full, are more numerous.

“The moon is an old romantic image of love and beauty we often see in art,” he said. “During the 19th Century or Romantic Period, you often see examples of people staring at the moon. It is an emblem of beauty and mystery.”

It probably should come as no surprise that the moon has always received so much attention. Not only is it a brilliant spectacle, but long ago human welfare depended on familiarity with the cycles of the moon, sun and stars. They marked the passage of the year, planting and harvest times and warned of approaching winters.

“Ancient peoples saw the moon wax and wane,” Linebarger said. “They attributed the power of life and death to the moon, as they did the sun. The ancient Egyptians believed the sun was born each morning and would fight with the forces of the underworld after sunset. The moon did much the same thing, but each month.”

Linebarger, who also teaches English and comparative religions at NSU, added that there was nothing recent about the idea of the moon controlling the behavior of earth-bound humans.

“Many people regarded the moon as mysterious,” he said.

“The entomology of words like ‘lunacy’ reflect the fact that ancient peoples looked to the skies believing heavenly bodies had an impact on us. The Romans believed that the moon, sun, planets and stars controlled their fates. The planets, after all, are named after Roman gods. Each god had a respective sphere of influence in our lives, and people would pray to a respective god.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Stocks